Research Report Resources » Engineering » Safety Data » Geospatial Summary of Crash Fatalities

Geospatial Summary of Crash Fatalities

DOT HS 812 607

  • Posted: Friday May 1st, 2020
  • Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Topic: Engineering
  • Sub-Topic: Safety Data


Rural areas account for 71 percent of the Nation’s public road miles and see nearly half of crash fatalities. With vast road miles to consider, this report quantifies the extent of fatalities in the first 15 miles outside of urban areas (UA).

  • Fifty-nine percent of rural crash fatalities occur within 5 miles of UAs; this density tapers as distance from UAs increases. This distribution varies across States.
  • Half of crash fatalities occur in UAs (50%).
  • Almost 80 percent of fatalities occur in UAs and the 5 surrounding miles (79%).

While total crash fatalities increased 11 percent from 2010 to 2018, fatalities in UAs increased 20 percent (14,988 in 2010, 17,975 in 2018). The percentage of crash fatalities in UAs also increased 4 percentage points, 46 percent to 50 percent.

Some crash factors show up more prominently in certain locations. Fatalities in crashes involving rollovers and large trucks report lower percentages in UAs but higher than national percentages in the 10- to 15-mile buffers in rural areas. Fatalities in crashes involving motorcycles, pedalcyclists, and pedestrians report higher percentages in UAs.